All of the all-in-one options I have seen are either very bulky, expensive, or both.
Elsewhere I have posted that I use USPS and am quite happy with most aspects of using them except for the printing of labels - getting data out of the shopping cart into the label printing program. Free boxes and supplies help reduce cost to customers and the flat rate shipping options can be great bargains.
I leave it up to the customer - if they want tracking, guaranteed overnight or two-day delivery, then I give them the option of Fedex or UPS. I've seen all carriers fail, though none have failed me like UPS. My answer to the problem is set out below.
I purchase packing supplies in bulk and "prep" them and set up a packing mise en place just like I would prep for cooking. Making sure that everything is cut to the right size and in a convenient place before I begin packing is key to efficiency. And - you should always be looking for ways to increase efficiency. If it takes you an average of 5 minutes to pack a box, then the max number of packages one person can ship is 96 in eight hours. Cutting the time to four minutes means that one person can ship 120 boxes in eight hours. This might not seem important now, but the night before the last shipping day at Christmas time it can be crucial.
I have had great success shipping in all weather using the following techniques - even to Phoenix, AZ in August.
1) Make sure to tape all the seams of the box. All of them. This helps keep hot air out and cool air in. Not just the top and bottom center/long seams. You'll be taping the 4 edges and the two center seams.
2) Line the box with bubble wrap that is covered in mylar on both sides. This is what I use .Use one long piece across one dimension of the box, cutting it long enough to make sure it overlaps at the top. Use two shorter pieces across the other two sides of the box, cut long enough so that they tuck under the long piece.If you are going to be putting a gel pack (or two) inside the box, I wrap what I am shipping in the mylar bubble wrap. What this does is add an extra layer of insulation. It keep what's inside cool and protects it from potential condensation from the gel pack.
3) Make sure to use a box that is large enough you don't have to stuff it. Dead air space is an excellent insulator - you don't want your items to be touching the insulation lining the inside of the box. I use cornstarch peanuts to maintain separation between what I am shipping and the insides of the box.
4) I also use one square of kraft paper padding (sometimes split in two) inside the bubble wrap for extra cushioning and to absorb any moisture.
5) Make sure the product itself is cool. If it's stored at 54F it will take longer to get to melt point than if you ship it from 68-72F. When I was working with Vintage and selling Cluizel, we were shipping from 34F - it gave us an extra day; instead of 2-day we could do 3 and save the customer a lot of money. We also shipped in oversize boxes filled with peanuts with the product in the center of the box, and the product being shipped was wrapped in plastic bags to protect it from condensation.
6) Make sure whoever receives the shipment has a place where it can be received that is out of the sun.
7) Make sure to get "Perishable" stickers and it doesn't hurt to add "This End Up" and/or "Fragile" stickers, too. These are simple and effective ways to get the attention of whoever is handling your box that it deserves special handling.
This may all seem like a lot of work. It is if you don't do it right. The key (as I said) is prep and organization. Spend a few moments to cut everything to size before you begin.
Make sure that the packing supplies are organized so that there is the minimum amount of moving to get to everything. These two simple things can make the whole difference. During peak holidays, I have been able to pack and ship (including USPS Click-and-Ship labels) 100 boxes a day all by myself . What I also did to make it work for me was to calculate how long it took to pack an order, start to finish and pay myself at least $15 hour to do this work.
I also calculated what the packing material costs were. I made this total the "handling" charge and added it to the cost shipping (which I passed through at cost). That way I was paying my labor to ship and make sure that the cost of packing materials was covered. It worked out to $3.50 per order to pay me (or someone else) to pack and deliver the boxes to the post office and cover the cost of packing supplies. I discounted this if/when it seemed appropriate.
Also - if you do use USPS, get to know your letter carrier and make sure to get to know the people on the loading dock at the post office you will use. They will tell you when the last truck out each night is. In my PO, the counter closes at 5:00 but the last Priority Mail truck leaves no earlier than 6:00 - and the Express Mail truck is slightly later. That extra time can make all the difference in the busy season.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
updated by @clay: 05/25/18 12:29:51PM